2006 Jacuzzi Primitivo
It’s still warm in the day and cold at night, so let’s drink a warm red to transition into winter. Of course, if the weather turns by the time this weekend rolls around, then let’s drink a warm red for the start of winter. Either way, try the 2006 Jacuzzi Primitivo, from Lake County in northern California. This rich and fuzzy-fruity red is perfect for a chilly night, whether on its own or with barbecue ribs, roast duck, or a spicy sausage and tomato sauce pasta. (These last two suggestions are straight off the back label, and I agree wholeheartedly!) Dark berry and black cherry flavors dominate, with spicy black pepper, the tiniest bit of soft tannins, and a crisp acidity on the finish. As the descriptors imply, this sounds like a crisp Zinfandel. Well done! The Primitivo grape is almost genetically identical to the Zinfandel grape, but carries a little brighter fruit and a bit more acidity. When grown in relatively cool Lake County, the big dark fruit flavors are nicely offset by this acidity.
Winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos ages this wine for 9 months in a combination of American and French oak barrels. This adds a touch of smoky oak, not too much to overpower the wine. Primitivo, like Zinfandel, can handle some new American oak barrel aging.
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards is an offshoot of Cline Winery. The Cline family started Jacuzzi in 1994 to concentrate on Italian varietals, and they built a new winery in 2007 across the street from Cline in Carneros. Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi moved to America in 1921, eventually making their fortune from, you guessed it, the Jacuzzi spa/hot tub. Fred Cline is their grandson. The Jacuzzi Primitivo is just under $20.